Thursday, April 26, 2007

Heinrich To Leave ABQ Council; Line To Replace Him Begins, Plus: The U.S. Senate Void, And: NM Party Chair Battles End Soon; We Have Your Update 

You can't serve two masters so ABQ City Councilor Martin Heinrich will not seek re-election to a second four term on the nine member council, concentrating instead on his soon to be announced candidacy for the ABQ Congressional seat held By the GOP's Heather Wilson.

"He is not going to run. He needs to fully concentrate on the congressional race," said an associate of Heinrich's about the October council election. An official announcement should come in weeks.

During his first week of testing the congressional waters, Heinrich has been hitting the phones and lining up financial pledges. He also has a campaign consultant on board--Philip Muller who managed Gloria Tristani’s 2000 bid against Senator Domenici and who also handled the ‘03 campaign of City Councilor Ike Benton. Heinrich and Muller are working out of the ABQ law offices of veteran Dem politico Dave Duhigg.

While Heinrich prepares to vacate downtown Government Center when his term expires in December, potential replacements are being mentioned. One is Dem Joseph Garcia, the current president of UNM's Graduate & Professional Students.

In '03 Heinrich won with 39.9% in a six way race. To my recollection, there has never been an Hispanic elected from Heinrich's District 6 since its formation in '74. If no candidate gets 40% of the vote in the October election, there will be a run-off between the top two contenders.


Since Big Bill moved to clear the field for Heinrich, talk has persisted about a prominent Hispanic getting in the race to challenge Heinrich in the June '08 Dem primary, but it remains talk. What is of more concern to top Dems is the void that remains in the contest against GOP Senator Pete Domenici who has been mired in the nightmarish US attorney political scandal.

At the Democrats state central committee meeting in Cruces Saturday, a gadfly Dem and self-described peace activist Leland Lehrman, says he will announce his candidacy for the senate nomination, but his appeal will be only to left Dems. Another contender Jim Hannan, a Dem party activist from Santa Fe, says he is also in the race, but doesn't plan any serious fund-raising. Former attorney general Patricia Madrid has floated her name, but the damage from her run against Rep. Wilson is severe, but if no one else runs...

So far, Pete is getting the break he needs. Only the prospect of Big Bill challenging him if his Prez bid ends next February is currently sending chills up the spines of Domenici's camp.

There is a big chasm between how NM and national D's view Pete. The locals are more pessimistic that anyone can mount a serious challenge. Unless a serious candidate starts raising money soon, it will be, as we have blogged before, Domenici's health that could be his main foe in Campaign '08.


The R's are keeping one eye on Pete's seat and one eye on this weekend's state central committee meeting where GOP Chair Allen Weh hopes to be re-elected. Senator Domenici and Rep. Wilson are fine with Weh, but insiders say Earl Greer of T or C has lined up the support of several GOP county chairmen, but will the rank and file follow them and did Greer get in soon enough? Many R's remain disappointed that Roswell oilman Mark Murphy, seen as a stronger challenger, did not make the race.


The AP's Barry Massey has a set-up piece on this Saturday's Dem and R meetings at which the chairmanships of the parties will be decided. We'll post the winners here for you when they are announced Saturday afternoon.


Do your eyes, like mine, often glaze over at the never-ending stream of "news" announcements coming from state government? Look at the headline on this news release and then get the Visine out.

"Health Coverage for New Mexicans Committee to Hold Public Meeting, Receive Preliminary Report and Presentation of Analysis of Health Care Models to Help Close Uninsured Gap in New Mexico"

Maybe they need to serve cocktails at that one.


I hate to disappoint the ink-stained wretches whose hearts were pounding when they heard here of a $72,000 a year (including bennies) flack job with the economic development department. But the flack for econ is not moving over to the Spaceport Authority with econ chief Rick Homans. There will be no Spaceport flack, he says. Economic development PIO Melissa Milam tells me she is staying put and besides, she doesn't make 72 Grand. I have taken down that juicy and enticing post.

So how did this get started? A newspaper reporter, apparently driven to hallucinations by employer imposed frugality, maintained he had heard it direct from Santa Fe. Being the conspiracy buff I am, perhaps there was a $72,000 job but it was ruined when I posted it on the blog! Sorry, job seekers; see you tonight at our moonlighting posts at Wal-Mart. As for our errant "source," he's being thrown into a deep pond to be feasted upon by the truly reliable sources of La Politica--The Alligators.

Thanks for dropping by the home of New Mexico politics. Send your political news, gossip and scuttlebutt via the email link at the top of the page. Back here tomorrow and on 770 KKOB-AM radio Friday at 9 a.m. with Bob Clark.

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